Israel attacks Freedom Flotilla, two civilians killed, 30 injured
Israel Navy troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian activists aboard a six-ship aid flotilla sailing for the Gaza Strip, killing two of them and wounding several others, after the activists ignored Israeli orders to turn back, Turkey’s NTV reported early Monday.
The Israeli naval vessels reportedly made contact earlier with the six-ship flotilla, which is carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and supplies to Gaza.
The Israeli navy was operating under the assumption that the activists manning the boats would not heed their calls to turn around, and Israeli troops were prepared to board the ships and steer them away from the Gaza shores and toward the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organizers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. According to organizers, the flotilla was expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, on Monday afternoon, and two more ships would follow in a second wave.
The flotilla was fully prepared for the different scenarios that might arise, and organizers were hopeful that Israeli authorities would do what’s right and not stop the convoy, one of the organizers said.
“We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us,” Arraf said. “They are going to have to forcefully stop us.”